Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2000
Joys and fears of motherhood
By DEVEEN MARTIN
Special to the WCR
Motherhood - that state of life many women want to be in and many wish they weren't in. Some become mothers in a very special way by choosing to adopt a child who cannot be raised by the natural birth mother. They are indeed special.
Others reach this stage of life after a seemingly endless nine-month journey, during which they are expected to keep a smiling happy face while they endure such things as food that goes down only to come up again, and weird cravings that tempt appetites at the oddest times. Perhaps the worst insult a woman endures is seeing her once-shapely body, expand and grow in all directions, leaving her feel like the Goodyear blimp trying to navigate gracefully in a thunderstorm.
When the all-awaited blessed event arrives, a masked doctor gleefully holds this wet, wiggly, screaming little human being by its feet, before handing you this bundle of joy who will change your life forever.
You have done the usual check, everything seems in order - all fingers and toes accounted for - but wait, something is missing. Now you realize it's definite, these babies don't come with an instruction manual.
The birth of a child can well be called a miracle - but being a mother is indeed something else. There is no job description for a mother, but there are expectations whether admitted or not.
She must be a jack-of-all-trades, able to solve any problem no matter what, and be immune to frustration and stress. As this little life grows and takes shape, her days will be filled with so many diaper changes that she can do them one-handed in the dark, and sleepless nights and days that are wonky from beginning to end.
As this little life grows, it doesn't get any easier, the hit and miss of toilet training, terrible twos which often seem to last for years, then the big jump into the school system and a new set of challenges mixed with the joy of watching more advanced learning and character building.
Then, it slowly creeps in, those teen, or to be more politically correct, adolescent years when we often wish we could just hide this child.
Often this adolescent is the strangest person to ever come into the family; in fact mothers often wonder where did it come from. Quite often by the age of 16 this teenager, as he/she is more often referred to, likes to think he or she has the knowledge of a 40-year-old. But more often than not they act like a two-year-old all over again.
It's a time when they are in the final stages (we hope!) of emerging from their so-called cocoon into the adult world, often a frightening time for both parent and child. We don't mind our children making mistakes - that's how they learn - we just wish they wouldn't make the same ones we did.
These years are times that mothers, for lack of all else, deepen their dependence on prayer. The mother who prays is a powerful force. Two of the best examples for guidance are the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Monica, known as the saint of mothers who was also the mother of St. Augustine.
Two other saints, favourites of mine, St. Anthony, among other things also known for miracles, and St. Jude, for difficult and impossible things, are good alternatives. But I am of the opinion that even they get stressed with teenagers.
We often say "Mother never told me it would be like this." But remember there is some justice for mothers when they get to see their daughters go through the same experiences.
As Kate Douglas Wiggin once wrote: "Most of all, other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world."
Regardless of shape, size, colour or temperament, mothers are precious and God was on track in creating them. They do so much, yet ask so little in return. As they model unconditional love to their families they become saints in disguise.
Every day should be Mother's Day. Remember your mother on her special day. Your gift of love and thanks will be appreciated and valued more than anything else. If nothing else, write her a letter and tell her how much she means to you. Honour her in your own special way, just be sure to do it.
If your mother is among the angels, remember to pray for her and to her, because her love and guidance will always be there for you.
If you are in an adopted family, or for some reason your birth mother could not and is not raising you, be thankful that you were given the gift of life and someone who cared enough to be a loving mother to you.
Above all, be thankful you have a mother, whether here or in heaven, there is no other, as precious as your dear mother. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers.